Congratulations to 2016 AMEWS Book Award winner, Ellen McLarney!

Congratulations to 2016 AMEWS Book Award winner Ellen McLarney, a member of the JMEWSEditorial Board! The annual prize recognizes Soft Force: Women in Egypt’s Islamic Awakening (Princeton University Press 2015) for excellence in the field of Middle East gender, women’s and sexuality studies.

In the decades leading up to the Arab Spring in 2011, when Hosni Mubarak’s authoritarian regime was swept from power in Egypt, Muslim women took a leading role in developing a robust Islamist presence in the country’s public sphere. Soft Force examines the writings and activism of these women—including scholars, preachers, journalists, critics, actors, and public intellectuals—who envisioned an Islamic awakening in which women’s rights and the family, equality, and emancipation were at the center. McLarney shows how women used “soft force”—a women’s jihad characterized by nonviolent protest—to oppose secular dictatorship and articulate a public sphere that was both Islamic and democratic. McLarney draws on memoirs, political essays, sermons, newspaper articles, and other writings to explore how these women imagined the home and the family as sites of the free practice of religion in a climate where Islamists were under siege by the secular state. While they seem to reinforce women’s traditional roles in a male-dominated society, these Islamist writers also reoriented Islamist politics in domains coded as feminine, putting women at the very forefront in imagining an Islamic polity.

Congratulations to Reina Lewis!

Congratulations to Reina Lewis for earning an Honorable Mention in the 2016 AMEWS Book Award competition! Lewis was recognized for her new monograph, Muslim Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures (Duke University Press 2015).

In the shops of London’s Oxford Street, girls wear patterned scarves over their hair as they cluster around makeup counters. Alongside them, hip twenty-somethings style their head-wraps in high black topknots to match their black boot-cut trousers. Participating in the world of popular mainstream fashion—often thought to be the domain of the West—these young Muslim women are part of an emergent cross-faith transnational youth subculture of modest fashion. In treating hijab and other forms of modest clothing as fashion, Reina Lewis counters the overuse of images of veiled women as “evidence” in the prevalent suggestion that Muslims and Islam are incompatible with Western modernity. Muslim Fashion contextualizes modest wardrobe styling within Islamic and global consumer cultures, interviewing key players including designers, bloggers, shoppers, store clerks, and shop owners. Focusing on Britain, North America, and Turkey, Lewis provides insights into the ways young Muslim women use multiple fashion systems to negotiate religion, identity, and ethnicity.


Vol. 12:3 is now out!

Volume 12:3, “The Gender and Sexuality of Militarization and War,” features cover artwork by Khaled Akil, five new articles, several exciting reviews and Third Space contributions, as well as an essay remembering the work of Fatima Mernissi (1940–2015). To view the Table of Contents and download articles, please visit our Current Issue page.

To see what’s to come in Volume 13:1, please visit our Forthcoming Issue page. Our website also includes a preview of that issue’s Special Forum: Feminist Perspectives on the 2016 Military Coup Attempt in Turkey.

Special Forum: Feminist Perspectives on the 2016 Military Coup Attempt in Turkey

We are happy to offer JMEWS readers early access to a forthcoming special forum featuring feminist perspectives on the 2016 military coup attempt in Turkey. The five essays by Yeşim Arat, Salih Can Açıksöz, Zeynep Kurtuluş Korkman, Begüm Başdaş, and Feyza Akınerdem, with an editorial introduction by Banu Gökarıksel, reflect on the role of gender and sexuality during and after this consequential event, including the gender politics of AKP and the Gülen organization that is allegedly behind the coup attempt; the masculinism of the military; the centrality of gender and sexual violence to political power; and the shifting regimes of representation of women’s bodies in public space. These manuscripts have not yet undergone copyediting, but provide an urgent analysis of recent developments in Turkey.

Click here to view the special forum now! The finalized manuscripts will be published in vol. 13.1 of JMEWS, available online and in print in March 2017.


Call for Papers: Decolonizing Sex and Sexuality

The Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies invites sexuality and gender scholars working in any discipline or interdisciplinary area in the interpretive social sciences and humanities to submit area-focused manuscripts of no more than 10,000 words on any topic related to Decolonizing Sex and Sexualities. The highest quality manuscripts will be published as articles in a themed JMEWS issue in 2018.

Competitive manuscripts: 1) substantiate a thesis based on original scholarship; 2) are conceptually coherent and clear; 3) are grounded in primary sources (literary, visual, archival, textual, ethnographic, artistic, legal, and so on); and 4) engage with pertinent questions that emerge from region-focused and transnational sexuality and feminist scholarship.

We use the term decolonization to refer to the work of producing sexuality and feminist scholarship and theory focused on the specificities of the region. We seek manuscripts that challenge dominant notions of decolonization and postcoloniality in relation to sex, sexuality, and feminism; critically engage with scholarship and theory from the metropole; forge new or less travelled directions, including on non-normative and non-conforming embodiments and life; or address novel or taken-for-granted questions, including how to define queer and feminist.

Possible questions include: How do non-normative affects, forms of belonging, practices, and aesthetic configurations in the Middle East challenge theory’s often universalizing assumptions? How are sex, sexuality, and queer taken up or not in these contexts? How might modes of life, engagement and expression that never use such terms be theorized as queer, including from past historical settings and older texts? How do occupation, war, militarism, and displacement impact or produce specific non-normative practices, identities, and scholarship? What does the Middle East as an empirical focus offer sex, sexuality and queer theories?

Manuscripts that meet the JMEWS threshold of development will be submitted for double-blind peer review. JMEWS is committed to an efficient review process where most submitted manuscripts are resolved within 12 months. Please follow all JMEWS submission guidelines for article manuscripts, including for reference quality and style, transliteration, and word count. Manuscripts are due on or before June 15, 2017 to our online submission system. Questions may be directed to

Volume 12:2 is now available!

Our new issue, “Everyday Intimacies of the Middle East,” is now available online! Guest edited by Aslı Zengin and Sertaç Sehlikoglu, Volume 12:2 features striking cover artwork by Mona Hatoum and tribute essays to Assia Djebar (1936-2015).

Call for Papers: The Gender and Sexuality of Borders and Margins

JMEWS invites feminist scholars working in any discipline or interdisciplinary area in the interpretive social sciences and humanities to submit area-specific manuscripts on any topic related to the theme of The Gender and Sexuality of Borders and Margins. Manuscripts may address any historical period in any part of the region. Areas of focus may relate to refugees, domestic workers, migration or migrants, law, cartography, dispersal, violence, ethnic or religious “minorities,” queers, gender and sexual non-conformity, sex work, and so on. Manuscripts are expected to substantiate a thesis based on original scholarship grounded in primary sources (literary, visual, archival, textual, ethnographic, artistic) and engage with relevant transnational gender and sexuality scholarship. The highest quality manuscripts will be published as articles in a JMEWS themed issue in 2017. Please follow all submission guidelines for articles, including word count. Manuscripts are due on or before June 15, 2016 to our online submission system.

Questions may be directed to

Call for “Third Space” Submissions on The Gender and Sexuality of Bodies, Borders, and Margins

The Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies invites feminist scholars and activists to submit short essays, photo-essays, photographs, maps, and creative artwork on any topic related to the theme of The Gender and Sexuality of Bodies and Borders in the Middle East. Submissions may address any historical period in any part of the region and its borders. Areas of focus may relate to bodies that are individual or collective and borders that are symbolic or material. Submissions may address dynamics of bodies in/out of place and different kinds of border-crossings and border-crossers. Submissions that engage with embodied and bordering practices in academic scholarship, research, or activism are also invited. JMEWS will publish the highest quality submissions in volume 13 (2017) in the section “Third Space.” Submissions for issue 13:1 are due by July 15, 2016, for issue 13:2 by November 15, 2016, and for 13:3 by February 15, 2017. Please direct submissions and questions to

2016 AMEWS Book Award Nominations

The Association for Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS) is now accepting nominations for the 2016 AMEWS Book Award. The nomination form and related details can be found on the AMEWS website. The deadline for all nomination materials is May 1, 2016.

More about the award: The AMEWSBook Award recognizes and promotes excellence in the field of Middle East gender, women’s and sexuality studies. The award is offered annually to a scholar for a solo-authored book. Books published (copyrighted) in 2015 will be considered for the 2016 award. The competition is open only to books published in English. The winner is recognized at the annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association and receives a monetary prize. Other books deemed exceptional receive an honorable mention.

The nomination form may be found here. For questions, please contact Fida Adely